Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in the world by JSTOR. Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- journal-content . JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. HALL-MARKS ON ENGLISH SILVER. The assaying of gold and silver originated in England with the Bishop of Salisbury, a royal treasurer in the reign of Henry I., although it is certain that some species of assay was practiced as early as the Roman conquest. In the year 1 180, during the reign of Henry II., a fraternity or guild of goldsmiths was in existence, although no charter of in- corporation had been granted, and the privilege of assaying the precious metals was conferred upon the Goldsmiths' Company of London by a statute passed in the year 1300, in the reign of Edward I. It was ordained, among other things, that no goldsmith of England should make or cause to be made any manner of vessel, jewel, or any other thing of gold or silver, ex- cept it be gold of a certain touch and silver of the sterling alloy ; that none work worse silver than money; that no manner of vessel of silver depart out of the hands of the workers until it be assayed by the members of the craft ; that it be marked with the leopard's head ; that they work no worse gold than of the touch of Paris (there being then no English gold coins which could be made a standard of goldsmiths' work) ; and that the wardens of the craft shall go from shop to shop among the goldsmiths, to as- say if their gold be of the same touch that is spoken of before, and if they find any other than that of the touch aforesaid, the gold shall be forfeit to the king. The first charter was granted by letters patent from Edward III. in 1327 to "the Wardens and Common- alty of the Mystery of Goldsmiths of the City of London." This charter pro- vided that, inasmuch as goldsmiths had been known to make false work of gold, silver, and jewels, and that the cutters covered tin so subtilely and with such sleight that it could not be discerned nor separated, and then sold the tin for fine silver, therefore, no one should bring into the land any sort of money, but only plate of fine silver ; that no plate of gold or silver be sold to sell again, or be carried out of the kingdom, but should be sold openly for private use ; and that none of the trade shall keep any shop except in Cheap ; that it be seen that their work is good. The ordinances passed by the company itself in the year 1336 enjoin that none do work in gold unless it be as good as the assay of the mys- tery, or in silver unless as good or HALL-MARKS ON ENGLISH SILVER. 29 HEN. VIII. MARY. 1518-9 1519-0 1520-1 1521-2 1522-3 1523^1 1524-5 1525-6 1526-7 1527-8 1528-9 1529-0 15804 1531-2 1532-3 1533-4 1534-5. 1535.6 1536-7 1537-8 1538-9 1539-0 1540-1 1541-2 1542-3 1543-4 1544-5 , 1545-6 1548-7 EOWD..VI. 1547-8 3548-9 1549-0 1550-1 . 1651-3 1552-3 , :i5534. .1554-5 ' »1555B 1556-7 1557-8 J.'Leopardi H 3. Due Mark. 1558-9 3559-0 1560-1 .1561-2 1562-3 1563-4 1564-5 1565-6 1566-7 1567-8 1568-9 1569-0 1570-1 1571-2 1572 3 1573-4 1574-5 1575-6 1576-7 1577-8 1. leopard'a Hetln J. Data Mark. 1578-9 1579-0 1580-1 1581-2 1582-3 1583-4 1584-5 1585-6 1586-7 1587.8 1588-9 1589-0 1590-1 1591.2 1592-3 1593-4 1594-5 1595.6 1596-7 1597-8 Fora Sum: It Leopard^ Head-st. L Dan Mark.. I. 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T7844 17354 1786-7 17874 J7884 17894 1790-1 1791-2 17924 17934 17944 17954 09 CD 1796-7 17974 17934 17994 1800-J JS01-2 18024 1803-4 18014 18954 1806-7 18074 18084 18094 1810-1 1811-2 18124 18134 18144 18154 lS16r7 18174 1S184 1B194 lW 1821,2 18224 1823-4 18244 18254 1826-7 18274 18284 18294 1830-1 1831=2 18324 JB334 18344 iSLkVaHaifc. 1837« 18384 18394 JMO-1 1841-2 18424 J8434- 2S44£ 1S454 184fi-7 J8474 18484 18494 1850-1 1851-2 18524 1853-4 18544 18554 1860-1 1861-2 1S624 1663-4 18614 JBB54 1866-7 J8614 18684 18694 1870-1 1871-2 167&3 18734 18744 18754 lji^inViSjL I 1876-7 I 18774 I 1878-9 ) 1879-0 J 1880-1 J 1881-2 S> 1884-5 1885-6 1886-7 18874 1888-9 18894 1890-1 3° THE CONNOISSEUR. better than the king's coin or sterling, and that when done it shall be brought to the hall to be assayed ; and that such as will bear the touch shall be marked with " the owners' and sayers' marks, and afterward be touched with the Lib- erdshede crowned." Three marks are here spoken of: first, the goldsmiths' mark, namely, his initials ; second, the assay mark, probably a letter of the alphabet ; and third, the mark of the Goldsmiths' Hall, a leopard crowned. The laws which regulated the gold- smiths' trade were rigorously enforced, and in the year 1379 it was enacted by Parliament that every goldsmith should have his own proper mark upon his work ; and also that the king should assign such persons as he pleased to make an assay, and after it was made to stamp the work with another mark to be appointed by the king. A statute passed in the reign of Edward IV. di- rected that no goldsmith, or worker of gold and silver, should work or put to sale any gold under the fineness of eighteen carats, nor silver unless it was as fine as sterling; and in 1573 the master and wardens of the Goldsmiths' Company were compelled to give se- curity that in future no gold wares should be of less fineness than twenty- two carats, and silver wares eleven ounces two pennyweights in the pound. In 1675 the goldsmiths issued an order directing all plate-workers to bring their respective marks to Gold- smiths' Hall to be struck in a table kept in the assay office, and also to enter their names and places of habitation in a book kept there for that purpose ; no person or persons to offer for sale any gold or silver ware before the workman's mark be struck clear or visible on it ; and that all manner of silver vessels, silver hilts for swords, and silver buckles for belts and girdles, be assayed at Goldsmiths' Hall and there approved for standard, by strik- ing thereon the lion and leopards' head crowned, or one of them, before they be exposed for sale. The statute of 1739 enacted that from that time ves- sels or plate of gold and silver should be marked with the mark of the maker or worker thereof, which should be the first letters of his Christian name and surname ; and these marks of the Gold- smiths' Company, namely, the leopard's head, the lion passant, and a distinct variable mark or letter to denote the year in which such plate was made. This applied to gold plate of twenty-two carats standard per pound troy, and to silver plate of the standard of eleven ounces two pennyweights per pound troy. Silver of the standard of eleven ounces ten pennyweights was to be marked with the first letters of the Christian name and surname of the mak- er and worker, and with the following marks of the company : the lion's head erased, the figure of a woman, com- monly called Britannia, and a mark or letter to denote the year in which the plate was made. In 1784 it was en- acted that the warden or assay master should mark all gold and silver plate with the mark of the king's head, over and besides the other marks directed by law; and in 1798 an act was passed to permit gold of the standard of eighteen carats to be stamped with a crown and the figures 18 instead of the lion passant. In 1 844 it was directed that gold wares of twenty-two carats standard should be marked with a crown and the figures 22, instead of the lion passant, and in 1854 a bill was passed allowing gold ware HALL-MARKS ON ENGLISH SILVER. 31 to be manufactured at the standards of fifteen, twelve, and nine carats, the first to be marked with the figures 1 5 and the decimal mark .625 ; the second with the figures 12 and the decimal mark .5 (500) ; and the third with the figure 9 and the decimal mark .375. At all times the laws relating to punishment for forging or coun- terfeiting any die used for marking gold or silver wares, or knowingly uttering the same, were very severe ; and as late as 1 844 such offenses were made felony punishable by transporta- tion for any term not exceeding fourteen nor less than seven years, or by im- prisonment with or without hard labor for any term not exceeding three years. It would be impossible within the .limits assigned to an ordinary magazine article to explain fully the changes which have been made from time to time in gold and silver plate marks, or the distinctive marks which individual- ized the plate manufactured at various towns ; but a general explanation can be given which will show the chro- nology, the illustrated table which accompanies the article enabling the reader to understand at a glance the modifications which have been brought about by various statutes. The duty- mark, which is the head in profile of the reigning sovereign, indicates the payment of the duty, and is impressed at the assay offices on every manufact- ured article of standard gold and silver that is liable to the duty after payment to the officers of the Goldsmiths' Com- pany, who are the appointed receivers. The date-mark is a letter of the alpha- bet, each assay office having its peculiar alphabetical mark, indicating the year in which the plate was assayed and stamped. In London, previous to the Restoration, the annual letter was changed on St. Dunstan's Day, May 1 9th, when the new wardens of the Gold- smiths' Company were elected. Since 1660 the assay year commences on the 30th of May, the new wardens being appointed annually on that day. The date-marks are continued regularly, with twenty letters of the alphabet, from A to U or V, inclusive, which are used in succession, the letters J, W, X, Y, Z being always omitted. The maker's mark was formerly some em- blem, as a star, a rose, a crown, etc., without the goldsmith's initials ; but, as has already been mentioned, it was ordered in 1 739 that the makers were to destroy their existing marks and express the mark by the initials of their Chris- tian names and surnames, in an entirely different type from that before used. Sometimes a small mark, such as across or star, is found near the maker's mark ; it is that of the workman, for the pur- pose of tracing the work to the actual hands that executed it. In the year 1 879 a select committee of the House of Commons was ap- pointed to inquire into the hall-mark- ing of gold and silver plate, the subjects to be investigated being the incidence and effect of the duties then levied upon articles of gold and silver manufacture, the effect of the existing system of compulsory assay and hall-marking, and also certain complaints against the operation of the law. While admit- ting that there were some objections to the principle of compulsorily assaying and marking articles of gold and silver manufacture, the committee came to the conclusion that the system had re- sulted in the creation and the mainte- nance of a high standard of excellence for all British assayed wares, which had 3^ THE CONNOISSEUR. not only raised the reputation of Brit- ish workmanship at home and abroad, but had also created a large amount of private wealth readily convertible by reason of the guarantee of value which the hall-marks afford. A number of suggestions were made as to amending the acts then in force with reference to assaying and hall-marking, but the re- port of the committee was never acted upon. Dishonest workers have, of course, often attempted forgeries of hall-marks. By the electrotype proc- ess, an ancient vase, cup, or piece of plate may be molded with the greatest exactness, showing the minutest chas- ing and engraving and even the ham- mer-marks of the original, as well as the hall-mark itself, these reproductions being difficult of detection to the un- initiated, although an expert will at a glance discover the spurious copy. One method of detecting spurious plate is by a close observation of the posi- tion of the hall-marks on the piece of plate under examination. The stamp- ing of plate at the assay offices is not done at random, but is subject to offi- cial orders and regulations, and rules are issued instructing the stamping clerk on which particular part of each piece the punch is to be applied. This established practice dates from a very early period, and was so constant that any deviation will, to a connoisseur, raise in his mind doubts of the gen- uineness of the piece under inspection. Before the year 1700 the marks were placed upon cups and bowls outside, on the margin, near the mouth. On tankards they will be found on the mar- gin to the right of the handle, and if a flat lid, straight across in a line with the purchase-knob or sometimes upon the flange ; dishes and salvers, upon the faces. At and after the Queen Anne period these rules were altered, and instead of being so conspicuously situated, the marks were placed on the backs, and upon cups and bowls were stamped underneath or inside the hol- low stem of the foot and inside the lids of tankards. Any variation from these rules ought to give rise to suspicion, and a careful examination will be nec- essary to ascertain whether the piece of plate has been altered from its orig- inal shape as before alluded to. It is curious to note the safeguards which at all times have been thrown around the manufacture of gold and silver and the severe punishment which was meted out to fraudulent workers. In the year 1 597 two London goldsmiths were convicted of counterfeiting the. lion, the leopard's head, and the alpha- betical mark, and were sentenced to stand in the pillory at Westminster, with their ears nailed thereto, and then be put in the pillory at Cheapside and have one ear cut off; while in France death was the penalty for counterfeit- ing the marks of the Goldsmiths' Com- pany. Those old workmen who toiled so patiently to produce marvel- ous productions that have survived all changes in the world's history were jealous of the glory of their art ; to them we are indebted for the pride which is still taken in the fashioning of gold and silver, and with the study which American houses are bringing to bear on the subject, those who can afford to make their homes beautiful may be satisfied that they can still pos- sess treasures as rich and beautiful as those which, though wrought centu- ries ago, are still the delight of the artist and the antiquarian. John V. Hood.